Sources: Yi Gyubo’s “Ballad of King Dongmyeong” 東明王篇 – part 2 of 3

See part 1.

河伯責厥女  하백책궐녀  Habaek reprimanded that girl,
挽吻三尺弛  만물삼척이  She pulled her lips stretching them three cheok (尺, 1 cheok roughly equals 36cm).

乃貶優渤中  내폄우발중  She exiled her to the middle of Ubal (優渤)
唯與婢僕二  유여비복이  giving her just two servants.

Habaek was greatly angered with her daughter [saying], “You did not follow what I taught you and in the end have brought shame on my house. Ordering [attendants] left and right to pull her lips, they were lengthened to three cheok. She banished (貶) her to the middle of Ubal waters. Ubal is the name of a swamp; today it is south of Taebaek-san mountain (太白山).

漁師觀波中  어사관파중  A master fisherman saw through the waves
奇獸行駓騃  기수행부애  a strange creature clumsily moving around.

乃告王金蛙  내고왕금와  He informed King Geumwa [lit. ‘golden frog’];
鐵網投湀湀  철망투규규  throwing an iron net deeply with a splash
引得坐石女  인득좌석녀  he pulled in the girl sitting on a rock.
姿貌甚堪畏  자모심감외  [Her] face was extremely frightening;
唇長不能言  진장불능언  with long lips she was unable to speak.
三截乃啓齒  삼절내계치  Cutting [them] three times her teeth could open.

A master fisherman, the mighty Buchu (强力扶鄒) said, “Recently there is something stealing the fish [but I] cannot tell what creature it is.”

The king had the fisherman catch it with a net. The net was shredded apart. Then using an iron net he was able to pull in a girl. Sitting on a rock she emerged. [Only] after [the king] ordered [her] lips cut three times [could] she speak.

王知慕潄妃  왕지모수비  The king discovered it was [Hae] Mosu’s queen;
仍以別宮置  잉이별궁치  he had a separate room [for her] prepared in the palace.
懷日生朱蒙  회일생주몽  Embracing the sunlight she gave birth to Jumong.
是歲歲在癸  시세세재계  The time was the Gye[hye] (癸亥) year.
骨表諒最奇  골표량최기  [His] physiognomy was truly the strangest;
啼聲亦甚偉  제성역심위  [his] crying, too, was extremely great.
初生卵如升  초생란여승  At first [just] an egg was born the size of a doe (升, a small cubic measuring container made of wood);
觀者皆驚悸  관자개경계  people who saw it were all astonished.
王以爲不詳  왕이위불상  The king considered it inauspicious,
此豈人之類  차개인지류  “What kind of person is this?!”
置之馬牧中  치지마목중  [He had] it left with the horses
群馬皆不履  군마개불이  [but] the herd would not trample it.
棄之深山中  기지심산중  He abandoned it deep in the mountains
百獸皆擁衛  백수개옹위  [but] a hundred animals protected it.

Discovering [she] was the queen of the imperial son of heaven, a separate room in the palace was set aside for [her]. The girl embraced the sunlight and so she became pregnant. In the 4th month [during] summer of the 4th year of Shenqiao (神雀), Gyehae (癸亥), Jumong was born. [His] crying was great, his physiognomy was outstandingly strange. When first born, [he] was born as a single egg [through] her left armpit/side (腋) and was as large as five doe. Thinking this strange the king said, “A person giving birth to a bird’s egg can be considered inauspicious.”

He had men leave it with the horses [but] the herd would not trample it. They abandoned it deep in the mountains [but] a hundred animals protected it. [Even] on days of cloud and rain the egg always had the sun shining on it. The king took the egg and sent it back to [its] mother who took care of it. Finally the egg hatched and there was a boy (男 lit. ‘man’). Within a month all his speech was accurate (實).

母姑擧而養  모고거이양  Taking [the baby] in her arms and rearing him,
經月言語始  경웡언어시  within a month he began to speak.
自言蠅噆目  자언승참목  By himself he said that flies had bitten (噆) his eyes
臥不能安睡  와불능안수  and [even] lying down he could not sleep peacefully.
母爲作弓矢  모위작궁시  His mother made him a boy and arrows;
其弓不虛掎  기궁불허기  this bow he did not wantonly pull.

[He] said to his mother, “A swarm of flies has bitten [my] eyes and I cannot sleep. Mother, make me a bow and arrows!”

His mother made a bow and arrows together using brier (蓽). By himself he shot at the flies above the spinning wheel (紡車); the arrows he released [all] hit their mark. In Buyeo a good archer was called a jumong (朱蒙).

年至漸長大  연지점장대  As his age gradually increased
才能日漸備  재능일점비  he gradually attained talents by the day.

夫餘王太子  부여왕태자  [As for] the crown prince of the Buyeo king,
其心生妬忌  기심생투기  envy grew in his heart.
乃言朱蒙者  내언주몽자  Whereupon he said of the jumong
此必非常士  차필비상사  that he definitely was not a normal man (士) [and that],
若不早自圖  약불조자도  “If [we] do not quickly devise a plan by ourselves
其患誠末已  기환성말이  this worry will have no end.”

Growing in age [the jumong] attained all skills. [King] Geumwa had seven sons who always went hunting together with Jumong. The princes were accompanied by more than forty men [but] would only catch one deer. Jumong [by himself] would shoot many deer. The princes resented [妬 lit. ‘envied’] this and so, taking him, they tied him to a tree, stole his deer and left. [But] Jumong pulled up the tree and went back [too]. Crown Prince Daeso (帶素) said to the king, “The jumong is a divine and valiant man (士) and his countenance (瞻視) is extraordinary. If we do not quickly devise a plan we will certainly have worry later.”

王令往牧馬  왕령왕목마  The king ordered [Jumong] to go and look after the horses;
欲以試厥志  욕이시궐지  he meant to test his intentions.
自思天之孫  자사천지손  [Jumong] thought by himself that for the grandson of heaven
厮牧良可恥  시목양가치  being a horse herder was truly shameful.
捫心常竊導  문짐상절도  Caressing his heart he always reproached himself,
吾生不如死  오생불여사  “My life is no better than death.”
意將往南土  의장왕남토  He intended to go to lands south
入國入城市  입국입성시  [and] establish a country and citadel,
爲緣慈母在  위연자모재  [but because] the mother he loved was [here],
離別誠未易  이별성본역  it truly was not easy to separate.

The king had Jumong herd the horses. He meant to test his will. Inside himself Jumong harboured anguish (恨). He said to his mother, “I am the grandson of the Celestial Emperor, herding horses for someone else my life is hardly better than death. I want to go to the southern lands and establish a state (國家) [but because] you are [here] I dare not act as I wish (不敢自專).”

His mother spoke [to him].

其母聞此言  기모문차언  His mother hearing these words
潛然抆淸淚  잠연문청루  wiped the clean tears that engulfed [them].
汝幸勿爲念  여행물위염  “You should not think [of me];
我亦常痛痞  아역상통비  I also am constantly in pain.
士之涉長途  사지섭장도  For the long road of a great man
必須憑騃駬  필수빙애이  [you] definitely need a trustworthy steed.”
相將往馬閑  상장왕마한  Together they went to the horse stables;
卽以長鞭捶  즉이장편추  cracking a long whip
郡馬皆突走  군마개돌주  the herd all bolted off.
一馬騈色斐  일마병색비  One horse with a shining pattern
跳過二丈欄  도과이장란  jumped over a two jang (丈,1 jang is approximately 3 metres) high fence,
始覺是駿驥  시각시준기  [so] they could tell it was a superior junma steed.

According to the Dojeon (道典) the horses ridden by Jumong were all called gwaga (果下).

潛以針刺舌  잠이침자설  Secretly he pierced its tongue with needles,
酸通不受飼  산통불수사  the burning pain stopped it from receiving its feed.
不日形甚癯  불일형심구  In hardly a day its form became emaciated;
却與駑駘似  각여노태사  it resembled the most inferior horse.
爾後王巡觀  이후왕순관  Later the king came by
豫馬此卽是  예마차즉시  and as expected [gave] that horse [to Jumong].
得之始抽針  득지시추침  Having obtained it, [Jumong] pulled out the needles
日夜屢加餧  일야루가위  and day and night it gradually ate great amounts.

[His] mother said, “[Concerning] this, my heart [too] has been in torment [腐] day and night. I have heard that on the long road of a great man a reliable junma steed is definitely required. I am able to select a horse [for you].”

Going to the horse pastures (馬牧) [she] wildly cracked a long whip and the herd all bolted in surprise. One horse jumped a two jang fence [whereupon] Jumong knew it to be a junma steed in flight. Secretly he stuck needles in beneath its tongue. The horse’s tongue hurt and it could neither [drink] water nor eat grass and became severely emaciated. The king visited the horse pastures and seeing most of the horses were well fed was greatly pleased. He rewarded (錫) Jumong with the emaciated [one]. Having acquired it, Jumong pulled out the needles and increased its feed.

暗結三賢友  암결삼현우  He made a secret bond with three wise friends;
其人共多智  기인공다지  they all shared great wisdom.

There was O’i (烏伊), Mari (摩離) and Hapbu (陜父).

南行至淹滯  남행지엄체  Journeying south, they reached the Eomche [river].

Another name is the Gaesa-su (蓋斯水), it is to the northeast of the present day Amnok river (鴨綠江).

欲渡無舟艤  욕도무주의  They wanted to cross but there was no boat.

[They] wanted to cross but there was no boat. Fearful of pursuing soldiers suddenly arriving, [Jumong] pointed his whip towards the sky and in anguish lamented, “I am the grandson of the Celestial Emperor and the son of Habaek; [we] have arrived here in flight [from peril]. Emperor of Heaven and Empress of Earth, take pity on this fatherless child and quickly [provide] a boat [or] bridge!”

With these words he struck the water with his bow, whereupon fish and turtles floated up and, emerging from the water, formed a bridge. Jumong [and his friends] crossed. Shortly after the pursuing soldiers arrived.

秉策指彼蒼  병책지피창  Holding his whip, he pointed at the blue,
慨然發長喟  개연발장위  in anguish he let out a long sigh,
天孫河伯甥  천손하백생  “The Celestial Grandson, son of Habaek,
避難至於此  피난지어차  has fled from difficulty and reached here.
哀哀孤子心  애애고자심  With a heart pitying [this] fatherless child,
天地其忍棄  천지기인기  [can] heaven and earth bear to abandon it?”
操弓打河水  조궁타하수  Taking his bow, he struck the river water;
魚鼈騈首尾  어별병수미  fish and turtles aligned themselves head to tail,
屹然成橋梯  흘연성교제  a tall bridge formed [and]
始乃得渡矣  시내득도의  thereupon they were able to cross.
俄爾追兵至  아이추병지  Shortly after the pursuing soldiers arrived
上橋橋旋圮  상교교선비  [but] when they went up the bridge, it twisted and collapsed.

[When] the soldiers arrived at the river, the fish and turtle bridge disintegrated; those already on the bridge all plunged [into the water] and died.

雙鳩含麥飛  쌍구함맥비  A pair of pigeons flew with barley in their mouths;
來作神母使  내작신모사  they became messengers of the divine mother (神母).

Considering the prospect of leaving, Jumong could not bear to separate (睽違). At this his mother said, “You must not worry on account of one mother.”

She wrapped seeds of the five cereals and sent them. But Jumong’s heart had been earnest and fresh (自別之心) [at the thought of] parting [and so] he had forgotten the barley seeds. Resting under a large tree, pairs of pigeons came flocking. Jumong said, “[These] must be barley seeds my divine mother has had sent.” [or “seeds brought by my divine mother’s emissaries” 神母使送麥子]

Whereupon he pulled his bow and fired. With one arrow he felled them all (一矢俱擧) and, opening their throats, obtained the barley seeds. Splashing water on the pigeons they came back to life and flew away, etc.

Continue to part 3..


2 thoughts on “Sources: Yi Gyubo’s “Ballad of King Dongmyeong” 東明王篇 – part 2 of 3

  1. Pingback: Sources: Yi Gyubo’s “Ballad of King Dongmyeong” 東明王篇 – part 1 of 3 | Koreanology

  2. Pingback: Sources: Yi Gyubo’s “Ballad of King Dongmyeong” 東明王篇 – part 3 of 3 | Koreanology

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